New York Law School Explores the “Things” in the Internet of Things

A “smart” bracelet that monitors your nightly sleep, a button that allows you to reorder trash bags with one touch, and a voice-activated thermostat. What do these things have in common? They are all part of the “Internet of Things” (IoT)—a burgeoning and transformative industry some experts have called the next Industrial Revolution. The actual “things” themselves vary widely, from cooking devices to medical monitoring equipment, but all use the internet to share data with external sources.

On February 3, New York Law School’s Center for Business and Financial Law (CBFL) and the New York Law School Law Review gathered industry leaders in law, tech, and business for a full-day symposium exploring the emerging—and sometimes concerning—legal issues the IoT has raised. Dean Anthony W. Crowell welcomed the group, and Professor Stacy-Ann Elvy, Associate Director of the CBFL, provided opening remarks. From privacy to data collection, consumer rights, and cybersecurity, our expert panels—moderated by Professors Stacy-Ann Elvy; Tamara Belinfanti, Co-Director of the CBFL; and Houman Shadab, Co-Director of the CBFL—assessed whether existing legal and technical frameworks are sufficient to protect consumers of IoT products.

In her keynote speech, Terrell McSweeny, Commissioner of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), highlighted significant consumer protection concerns with regard to the swiftly evolving industry.

The event was spearheaded by Professor Stacy-Ann Elvy, whose latest article on the IoT was identified by online legal journal Jotwell as one of the best recent works of scholarship relating to contract law, and Professor Tamara Belinfanti. Vivian DePietro 3L, Executive Symposium Editor for New York Law School Law Review, and Professor Michelle Zierler, Faculty Publisher of the Law Review, were also key to organizing the event.

The New York Law School Law Review’s next issue will include scholarship on these topics, including a contribution by Commissioner McSweeny—stay tuned.

View photos of the conference here.